Depth of Engagement

There are different levels of engagement/commitment to any specific task or project. I’ve been thinking recently about the different tasks a game developer has and trying to decide at what level of depth I’d like to get involved in each.

Let’s take Photoshop as an example.

I’ve used Photoshop for many years but until recently never dug very deep behind the basics. Photoshop is an interesting example because it’s used by both amateurs and professionals. At the most basic level Photoshop is an image editing program and at that level it does what it needs to. Perhaps a person who just wants to edit a photo they took of their dog might learn how to open a document, use different selection tools, crop the image and perhaps do basic colour manipulation.

A student of Photoshop might dig deeper and start with an empty document, use different fills to construct a background image, use the pen tool to add scalable vector graphics, save the image with the correct compression settings and file formats based on their project requirements.  On top of that a better student might invest time in learning all the keyboard shortcuts to improve efficiency.

Digging even deeper a professional who uses Photoshop daily might setup different “Actions” to allow them to automate more tedious / repetitious tasks. Create their own custom brushes. Utilize the whole toolset of an Extended Version and know how to combine different tools/methods together to tackle any design challenge in a fast and high quality manner.

Each of these levels of depth require different level of commitment in both time and resources. And each will yield relative results based on the level of engagment you initially decided to commit to.

As I’m trying to juggle between art, design, coding of my game, I’ve been having to make decisions on how deep do I want to go in each aspect, knowing that each decision will have a direct impact on the final quality of the game.